This Saturday, UFC 218 storms Detroit as current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway takes on former champ Jose Aldo. The pair first met in June 2017 when Holloway shocked the world by stopping Aldo at the end of the third round to unify the featherweight title.
It was the second loss in three fights where the once dominant Aldo, who was thought to finally be on the path to redemption after defeating Frankie Edgar to secure the interim title at UFC 200. Holloway first won his interim title at UFC 206 when he TKO’d Anthony Pettis. Since unifying the title at UFC 212, he has a veneer of invincibility.
Featherweight champion Max Holloway adjusts his camp to prepare for a familiar opponent – longtime beltholder Jose Aldo, who sees their rematch at his shot at redemption. Go inside the lives and training camps of these exceptional athletes as they ready for the career-defining matchups at UFC 218.
More importantly, this fight re-sets the clock on a division that saw “The Notorious” Conor McGregor steal the shine from everyone in the game, let alone the division. Since defeating Aldo with an infamous 13-second KO in the first round at UFC 194, McGregor rose up the ranks quickly, famously battling Nate Diaz twice at welterweight and then besting Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC lightweight title, becoming the first fighter in the UFC to hold two titles in two divisions simultaneously.
After that, he took the boxing world by storm in challenging Floyd Mayweather to a super-fight and walked away worth over $100 million. Since then, McGregor has gone on an extended bratty spree, including endangering the lives of combatants in rival promotion Bellator and leaving a vacuum in the UFC universe.
Featherweight champion Max Holloway adjusts his camp to prepare for a familiar opponent – longtime beltholder Jose Aldo, who sees their rematch at his shot at redemption. Plus, Dutch kickboxing legend Alistair Overeem looks to use his experience to shut down rising star Francis Ngannou, who brings incredible power and potential to the heavyweight division.
The response from the UFC brass is a return to normalcy with classic fighters like Aldo seeking redemption from the new young brash upstart in Holloway. This fight will truly determine Aldo’s survival in the UFC as an elite fighter, as Holloway represents the new cycle system in the UFC based on athletic ageism.
Having been a champion in old UFC affiliate promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting before there eventual merger into the UFC, Aldo is damn near a dinosaur in dog year assessment of MMA talent.
In Holloway, you have the classic bad guy you love to hate for his unabashed opinion, over the top confidence and insane athleticism. In short, the perfect UFC superstar a la the McGregor and Chael Sonnen variety. It actually is in the UFC’s best interest if Aldo loses, as it sets up a potential blockbuster fight between Holloway and McGregor, if and when the Irishman decides to return to competition.
However, it is a much-needed re-set after a year filled with hype and derogatory statements from UFC up and comers like Colby Covington and more. The true brilliance of the UFC brand is its talent roster and their innate ability to be fantastical in combat. This weekend’s pairing, especially for the lighter weight classes, brings them back in the direction to accomplish just that.